February 15, 2022
COVID-19 AND ALL restrictions in recent years have wreaked havoc on many facets of people’s lives. One such facet has been the increase in domestic violence during COVID-19, especially with the lockdowns that have been imposed since March 2020. Although I have dealt with the stress of COVID-19 over the Last two years like many others, I have fortunately not had to deal with any form of domestic violence, although some in and around Bancroft have not been so lucky.
The United Nations has called domestic violence a shadow pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Statistics Canada in an August 2020 report, 10% of women said they were very or extremely concerned about the possibility of domestic violence. In the first nine months of the pandemic, the Toronto-based Assaulted Women’s Helpline reported receiving more than 71,000 calls, when it usually receives around 40,000 a year.
There was welcome news to help victims of domestic violence locally on February 9, courtesy of the Hastings County Joint Community and Human Services Committee Meeting. During that meeting, they said they would recommend to Hastings County Council that $500,000 be reallocated to Maggie’s Resource Center in Bancroft, to help them create transitional housing for victims of domestic violence.
Maggie’s Resource Center was established in the early 1980s and continues to operate as a not-for-profit agency with an all-female volunteer board to help women and their children in North Hastings escape abusive situations domesticated.
They offer services which include; crisis intervention, safety planning, transitional housing support, counselling, safe placement and transportation for women and their children leaving an abusive relationship, advocacy and referrals to health support resource centers, legal and revenue and advocacy with legal and social services. For more information or if you need their services, call 613-332-3010 or email [email protected] or call their After Hours Crisis Response Department at 613-332- 3010.
Hastings County is also awaiting a response from the source of this funding, Reaching Home Rural and Remote, to ensure this redirection of funding is acceptable. RHRR is a community-based program whose goal is to prevent and reduce homelessness by providing direct support and funding to designated communities,
including urban centres, Indigenous communities, territorial communities, and rural and remote communities across the country.
The $500,000 from the RHRR was originally intended for housing
funds to create an eight-bed shelter in Bancroft, but the RFP to solicit bids for said shelter revealed that the three bids received were all well over budget, and so this project has been shelved for the time being. The county will consider other options in the future.
If approved by RHRR and the County, the $500,000 funding would support Maggie’s Resource Center efforts to purchase and renovate a commercial building that would house her office and the creation of two transitional housing units in the new building and of three transitional housing units in their current location. building for women and children victims of violence. There is currently no emergency or transitional support for victims of domestic violence in North Hastings. The joint and human community of Hastings County
The services committee’s recommendation to reallocate the $500,000 will be heard at the Hastings County Council meeting on Feb. 24, according to Cathy Bradley, county clerk and corporate communications manager.
I think this is great news for the residents of Bancroft and surrounding areas who have had to deal with not only the negatives
effects of the pandemic, but also had to deal with this phantom pandemic of domestic violence. Tanya MacKinnon, executive director of Maggie’s Resource Center agrees. She told Bancroft This Week on February 10 that they were absolutely delighted to hear about the funding reallocation.
“We look forward to working with Hastings County on this very important project for our community,” she said. “As more information becomes available, further announcements with more details will be